Jurors deliberate for a second day in Milwaukee ex-cop trial

by Marta Holmes June 22, 2017, 6:00

Former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who fatally shot Sylville Smith during an August 2016 foot chase, was found not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide on Wednesday (June 21). After Smith fell and lay on the ground, Heaggan-Brown approached him and fired again, hitting Smith in the chest from several feet away. It says police body camera video shows Smith slip to the ground near a chain link fence.

During closing arguments prosecutors noted the first shot he fired at Sylville Smith was justified, but the second one, which proved deadly when it hit the man in the chest, was not. The death sparked two days of riots in Milwaukee.

Mr Heaggan-Brown will face other charges in relation to a sexual assault investigation that led to his firing after the shooting incident. According to CNN, Willis "wrote the use of force manual used by Milwaukee police officers".

"That first shot was a justifiable shot and that justification did not change in 1.69 seconds", Smith said, alluding to the time that transpired before the first and second shot. He faced up to 60 years in prison if he had been convicted. The sexual assault case was not mentioned during the trial because it is being handled separately and knowledge of it could prejudice the jury.

"This guy is somebody we now know was engaged in all sorts of criminal conduct, shouldn't have been there", the Smith family attorney, David Owens, told reporters after the verdict.

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Prosecutors argued that it was unnecessary when Heaggan-Brown discharged his weapon a second time.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense and was forced to make a quick decision about whether to shoot. Heaggan-Brown fired the first shot nearly simultaneously with Smith throwing away his gun when he got up. "It was only one person that took my son's life and that's Heaggan-Brown". After the second shot, Smith's arms and legs are still moving and he appears to bring his left hand toward his waistband.

When the video is slowed frame-by-frame, Smith is seen holding the gun by the barrel to throw it over the fence.

It also was less than a week after a Minnesota officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was cleared of manslaughter by a jury in the fatal shooting of a black motorist. According to Fox6, jurors also had the option to pick from two lesser charges instead of first-degree reckless homicide. It was later determined that Heaggan-Brown's first shot struck Smith in his right bicep area with the bullet passing through Smith's bicep and lodging in a window casement to the east of the shooting.


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